I need some advice on rangefinders. I need one for deer sized game out past 1000yds. Have had hit and miss success with bushnell. Leica makes what appears to be a good product. What works for you guys?
The commercial/civilian made for, lasers are not powerful enough for shot after shot reliability in all weather conditions and with sunlight and overcast days. You will get different readings on all that I have tried and I have tried most of them.
The otical U.S. Military Barr and Stroud and the Swiss Wild are very good units but, are not real portable like the lasers.
The Military lasers work the best when you can find them and there are many in the U.S. at present.
Some are for sale from time to time and caution must be used with them. Most are not eye safe to others, not the user unless he lases a mirror or window or something reflective that will bounce back to him.
One person said they are illegal to own, but the Bronco corp. sold hundreds of the Russian units to the public and sportsmen for several years. Maybe they were "Grandfathered."
Most of us use the military lasers because of the portability and reliability.
If you can find a military laser or optical unit, buy it. Wilds and Barr and Strouds are $500.00 to $750.00. The military lasers are around $3000.00 and up.
I recently picked up a Newcon Optik LRM 1500. I have not used it in hunting situations yet, but have had a lot of fun playing with it. During mid day I ranged a building at 1614 yards and have been able to range trees and such out to 800.
I think reliablity for all eye safe laser rangefinders is questionable past 600 yards, but without paying big bucks and / or getting into non eye safe devices, the Newcon seems pretty good. I have not been able to compare it to a Leica, but it is substantially better than the Nikon / Bushnell 800 finders.
I will be chasing deer next week and I will try to post my results of using the Newcon under real conditions.
BTW - You can easily find the Newcon 1500 for under $300 new. I have seen them as buy it now on ebay for $259.
I have the Leica 1200 and it works OK. Against real reflective objects, I've ranged stuff out to 1167 yrds. However while in Wyoming hunting antelope, I had a bitch of a time ranging antelope at 500-750 yrds. It just wouldn't work. I finally got a range on one at 709 yrds, but it took about a dozen tries. You just need to get lucky and bounce the beam off the white part of the antelope. But it certainly is frustrating to see a real nice buck antelope at somewhere between 550-750 yrds, and not be able to adjust your scope properly because you can't get a reading on your laser.
What Darryl says above is really true. I missed my one shot at a real big bull elk in Wyoming (see posting about hunting elk in Wyoming) because he was standing on a hillside at about 550-650 yrds right at the edge of a fog-bank layer. He was about to dissappear up into the fog. I just couldn't get a range on him because the residual fog was just reflecting the laser too much. So I lased a cow in front of him, standing on the hillside at a lower level and tried to calculate the range to the bull based on how far he was from the cow (big mistake - that's very hard to do at say about 500 yrds, especially when they're standing on a hillside). Whereas if I'd had a proper laser I'd be eating a elk steak right now while writing this to you.
While we're on the topic, I've got a question for Darryl. What is the approximate size and weight of the military Russian lasers? Any idea on where any are available?
Be sure to get all the laser you can. I can tell you I spent sever thousand dollars getting my out-of-state elk license and paying for my outfitter. Not to mention the money I paid to get myself and my gear to and from Wyoming. All of it was for nought because I didn't have a good enough laser. Oh well.
I use Leica Geovid and Leica 1200 laser range finders and have had no problems with either. I just got back from Colorado on an elk hunt and I ranged with the Leica 1200 out to 1150 yards with no problems at all. I did range a group of elk (on one animal) at 550 yards - I tried it 3 times and got consistent readings all 3 times.
If your looking to go beyond 1200 yards then you have to look at something other then the Leica but out to 1200 Yards I have yet to find them failing.